Blog: Dean BestInnovation, innovation, innovation, says General Mills

Dean Best | 2 July 2009

It's obvious: when you've got a good story to tell, you want to go to great lengths to shout about it.

General Mills, the US food giant behind brands like Old El Paso and Haagen-Dazs, certainly followed that maxim yesterday (1 July) when it outlined its annual results.

Its conference with analysts, broadcast over the Internet, was lengthy, even by the standards of most results presentations.

Indeed, the plug had to be pulled on the Internet broadcast when the conference broke the 90-minute mark - even though the General Mills management was still ploughing through questions.

Aside from record US retail sales and a robust performance from its international business (notwithstanding the whack the General Mills' overseas figures took from the strong dollar), the company was keen to demonstrate that, even in recession, innovation remains key to its future.

While some industry watchers have questioned the merits of launching products in a recession, General Mills boss Ken Powell insisted it was a "great time to launch new products".

However, when one eagle-eyed analyst (dontcha just love them) pointed out that the number of new products set to be launched by General Mills in the next six months was actually down on the first half of its previous fiscal year, it cast some doubt on the company's boldness.

Nevertheless, Ian Friendly, the COO of General Mills' US retail division, had a response ready. The company, he said, wants "bigger and better ideas as opposed to large numbers of ideas".

Innovation is always a gamble. But, General Mills's shares closed up almost 4% yesterday. Investors must like the sound of Progresso High Fiber soups, Yoplait Delights parfait and frozen entrees under the Chinese cuisine brand Wanchai Ferry.


BLOG

Danone closes WhiteWave, who will acquire Stonyfield?

Danone completed its US$12.5bn acquisition of WhiteWave Foods this week. The move will roughly double Danone's presence in North America, where WhiteWave is a top four dairy player. ...

BLOG

Premier Foods pension news offers cheer but challenges remain

Premier Foods plc revealed today (28 March) it has secured a deal with its pension scheme trustees that will see the UK food maker reduce its pension burden....

BLOG

Another reshuffling of pack at Hain Celestial

Hain Celestial, under the scrutiny of the investment community in recent months and facing some challenges in its domestic market, has announced another shuffling of its management pack....

BLOG

FrieslandCampina looking to sell final non-dairy asset

FrieslandCampina, which today served up higher profits but lower sales for 2016, is ready to offload the last non-dairy business owned by the Dutch cooperative giant....

just-food homepage



Forgot your password?